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The First Lecture on Frontiers of International Legal Practice - IP Due Diligence

On the morning of 23 May 2022, the first lecture of the 2022 CESL Frontiers of International Legal Practice was successfully held. The lecture, on Intellectual Property Due Diligence, was delivered by Nick Beckett, Managing Partner of CMS, and moderated by Monty Silley, European Executive Dean at CESL. The lecture was attended by nearly 100 students.

Nick Beckett is Global Co-Head of the CMS Life Sciences & Healthcare Group. In this position, he jointly leads an international team of more than 480 lawyers, patent attorneys, scientists and academics across CMS. Mr. Beckett is also the Managing Partner of the Beijing and Hong Kong Offices and Head of Asia-Pacific IP. Mr. Beckett manages a team of dedicated sector specialists covering Life Sciences & Healthcare, Energy, TMC and Financial Institutions across the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Beckett is also a Solicitor-Advocate of the English Courts.

At the beginning of the Lecture, Nick Beckett mentioned that CMS is one of the top 10 law firms in the world with more than 5,000 professional legal and tax advisors in over 70 offices in more than 40 countries. The firm is able to provide quality services to clients in the areas of investment and mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property as well as tax and customs.

Next, Mr. Beckett focused on two parts: IP due diligence and Freedom to Operate, to explain the practical skills and experience related to IP due diligence.

Mr. Beckett began his presentation with a review of the basic concepts of intellectual property, based on which he introduced IP due diligence. Through examples from the IP-intensive biopharmaceutical industry, Mr. Beckett demonstrated the role of IP due diligence in transactions, the main areas of investigation, and other factors to be taken into account, such as the ownership status, legal status, litigation risks, and relevant competitive factors in the marketplace.

The second part is Freedom to Operate (FTO), which refers to the assessment of whether a particular company is free to use and develop technology and to assess the risk of infringement of the products using that technology in the market. Mr. Beckett focused on the importance of FTO analysis, the timing of implementing FTO analysis, the strategic layout of conducting FTO, and how to respond to potential infringement risks found after conducting FTO analysis, which vividly demonstrated to the students the importance of conducting a comprehensive FTO analysis for enterprises to avoid IP disputes and losses.

During the question and answer session of the lecture, students actively participated and Mr. Beckett had a comprehensive exchange with them on the questions mentioned by the students regarding the content of the lecture, practice skills, and academic research.

Early detection of risks through IP due diligence and corresponding treatment and prevention are crucial to the conclusion of investment and financing transactions and the subsequent healthy development of enterprises. Through this seminar, students were able to combine their book knowledge with practical knowledge, broaden their horizons in the field of IPR and enhance their knowledge of IP due diligence.

Written by: DAI Yuqing, CESL MEIL student from 2021 intake